Eco-Humanities Research Group public lecture series -Simone Horstmann

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Eco-Humanities Research Group public lecture series -Simone Horstmann

To Believe in the Wild. A Rereading of the Biblical Dominion Mandate

By UCC / ERI Eco-Humanities Research Group

When and where

Date and time

Thu, 1 Jun 2023 08:00 - 09:15 PDT



About this event

  • 1 hour 15 minutes
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The so-called mandate of human dominion over (other) animals (Gen 1:28) is certainly one of the most controversial and much discussed verses in the Bible. In the context of the Anthropocene, especially in the face of man-made violence against animals, its precarious meaning is once again intensified. While the classical critique of the dominion mandate had mostly attempted to analyse its historical consequences, to trace its exegetical and intra-textual meaning or even to excuse it apologetically, the lecture will be concerned with examining the deeper meaning of that religiously connoted speciesism which is expressed in the dominion mandate: In the form of an alterity-theoretical re-reading of Gen 1:28, the question will be explored to which experiences of wildness, unruliness and uncontrollability of animals Gen 1:28 responds and how these experiences are still morally relevant today. This approach is thus less concerned with questions of later text reception than with reconstructing the hidden pre-texts of Gen 1:28: The dominion mandate is thus treated as a "palimpsest" (Gerard Genette) - as a text that bears witness to another, erased text. Inspired by Levinas and Foucault, the aim is to sketch out a knowledge archaeology of creation theology that pursues the question of how the present-day, ultimately biopolitical violent relationship of humans to other animals is based on experiences that must be re-read and theologically re-evaluated, especially in the Anthropocene.

Simone Horstmann, Dr. phil., is a research associate at the Institute of Catholic Theology at the Technical University of Dortmund (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). Her work focuses on the areas of a post-anthropocentric theology and questions of animal ethics. Recent publications focus on "Religious Violence against Animals" and "Interspecies Learning".

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